Review: 30 Days of Goodness, Love and Grace by Susie Shellenberger

30 Days of Goodness, Love and Grace30 Days of Goodness, Grace and Love: A Faithgirlz Bible Study
Susie Shellenberger

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This Bible study contains three parts. Part one explores the power of goodness through the book of Colossians. In part two, the author explores love via the story of Ruth. Part three teaches about the power of grace through the book of 1 Peter. Each part is broken down into sections, one for each chapter. Each section contains “bites,” smaller, more focused portions. The author suggests completing one bite per sitting. Each section closes with a review to complete with a friend or Bible study group.

I’m not sure why the title says 30 Days. I expected the book to be broken down into thirty chunks, but it isn’t. Each section contains roughly eight or ten bites, so even that works out weirdly for use with a weekly study group. If there were seven bites per section, that would break down perfectly. And then it would be a simple thirteen week study. But it’s not. The way it’s mapped out, while confusing, isn’t my biggest issue with the book.

Let me start with what I liked. My absolute favorite piece was a short article about how to choose a Bible that’s right for you. It followed a study on the importance of reading the Bible, which made it very well-timed. The advice was practical (do you want a big Bible or something you can slip inside your purse?) and thoughtful (consider a study Bible, here’s why…). Overall, I found it impressive. Great moment.

I love the story of Ruth and Boaz. It’s one of my favorites, so I was really excited that it’s included in this study. Some of it I really liked and thought was insightful. Other parts were a bit confusing. One such thing was a long passage explaining how mortgages and the Year of Jubilee worked. While it was fascinating to me as an adult, I don’t know that it translates well for girls in the study’s target age and it never really tied to the study in a critical way. I think it could have been left out entirely.

I requested to review this book because my daughter is eleven. The description suggests this study for eight to twelve year-old girls, and I was really hoping my girl and I could work this study together. There are several reasons why that’s not going to happen:

  1. Some of the content is too mature for her age. There are examples about girls sexting and a lot of focus on dating and preparing for marriage (I’d say about 1/3 of the content of the book focuses on this). That’s just NOT where we’re at, and I have to wonder how many families with girls this age are looking for a study with this type of content.
  2. The section on goodness largely focuses on outward behavior. It seems to imply that being a better Christian means talking about God all the time, to everyone, including your Facebook community. While I think spiritual transparency is a good thing, I don’t feel that the true meaning of goodness was deeply addressed in the section. It was more like, here’s a list of things that good people do. Make sure you do all of them.
  3. One the author comes back to several times is that ideas and curiosity can be dangerous. I had a really hard time with this. I want my daughter to ask questions, to think about things. Now, I want her to take her questions to trusted sources: me, other mentors, the Bible, etc. But I don’t want her to grow up thinking that curiosity or questions are bad. Questions are a part of life. My favorite Bible heroes often questioned God in pretty bold ways!
  4. Some examples used to support or explain scripture don’t really fit. For example the author talks about Revelations 3:16: “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” The example that follows is the story about placing a frog in lukewarm water, then heating it, and he dies once the water gets hot. Whereas, if you put him in hot water, he’ll jump out. I just don’t see how those two things connect in a parallel way. The frog stays in lukewarm water. He jumps out of the hot water. It’s the opposite of what the scripture is saying. I get the point, I just don’t think this story supported it.

Overall, I find myself disappointed. I think this would be a better study (if edited for consistency) for girls ages fourteen to sixteen.

I’m still on the hunt for a good study for my daughter and me. If you’ve done one you love, please comment below and tell me about it! I’ll be sure to post about it if I find a good one.

Cultural Elements
Some references to differences in culture in Jews vs. Gentiles in Biblical times.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
Conversations about dating. One quiz question asks about a girl who has been “sexting” boys.

Spiritual Content
See above. The introduction to the section on Colossians talks about how combining ideas outside Christianity into faith (adding bits of Buddhism for instance) makes one no longer a Christian. (I do agree with this, but I wish she’d clarified that finding common ground between belief systems is different than adding outside beliefs to one’s own.) There’s a comment later about how Satan will use curiosity to destroy, and the example given is like, people who got curious about Satanism end up in over their heads. I kinda get what she’s saying, but it was a really extreme example that probably doesn’t apply to most kids.

Violent Content

Drug Content
One quiz question features a girl tempted to smoke a cigarette.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

4 Responses to Review: 30 Days of Goodness, Love and Grace by Susie Shellenberger

  1. Colleen says:

    I wish I knew of a Bible study to suggest for you and your daughter. I really don’t. I do know of some trustworthy authors for that age, but I don’t believe they write Bible studies. Just novels. I will check, though. And, sorry about being so ignorant, but what is sexting?
    Thank you for the honest review. Such a vital age to get our kids grounded in Scripture and to develop a truly Godly worldview so they can not only survive, but thrive. They are our next generation. God help them!

    • Hi Colleen – Thanks. For now we’re trying a devotional by Wynter Pitts. We’ll see how that goes. Sexting is sending sexual text messages. You’re right – it’s a critical age to explore faith and there HAVE to be great resources out there. I’m sure there are. It may take me a little time, but I’ll find some. And hey, if not, I’ll WRITE some. Ha!